Saturday February 25, 2006
Three cars, a stall and a shop wrecked during pursuit of thieves
By IAN MCINTYRE
The bloodied suspect being led away by the police in Kota Baru yesterday. He had suffered injuries in the accident.
KOTA BARU: A gutsy businesswoman went after two snatch thieves in a dramatic chase that resulted in three car crashes, a crushed hawker stall and a roof caving in over a shop here yesterday.
It took the police three hours to clear the mess.
But after the havoc-causing 2km pursuit, the woman, who did not want to be named, got back her handbag which contained money and valuables worth RM1,000.
The owner of the destroyed shop that sold gymnasium equipment, Razali Mohd Yusuf, praised her for her bravery but complained that he suffered losses of up to RM50,000 in damage.
The three cars – the woman's Proton Perdana, the thieves' Perodua Kancil and a Proton Iswara of an unidentified motorist – were all badly damaged.
No heavy casualty was reported.
The drama began at about 9am when the woman and her four-year-old son were about to enter her car after leaving a 7-Eleven outlet in Taman Uda Murni.
The Kancil, which was parked in front of her car, suddenly reversed into it, jolting both the mother and child.
The suspected thieves’ Kancil crashed into a lamppost.
Two men rushed out from the Kancil, threatened to harm the boy and they snatched the woman's handbag from her hand.
As they sped away, the woman grabbed her son and put him into her car, buckled up and zoomed after the thieves.
On nearing a Shell petrol kiosk at Kampung Buang, she rammed the Kancil, causing the getaway car to veer into a passing Iswara before crashing into a lamppost.
The woman's car shot straight into the gymnasium equipment store, scattering glass and causing the roof to cave in over the shop.
The Iswara's driver also lost control of his car and hit an empty hawker stall on the left shoulder of the road.
It was a scene the town had not seen before except in police movies, drawing a huge crowd of onlookers and causing a massive traffic jam.
The woman came out of her car in a daze but managed to yell out to onlookers to catch the thieves in the Kancil.
Razali and several others went after the suspects, who had scrambled out of their car and were trying to flee the scene.
SAFE AND SOUND:
The woman with her husband and son after the dramatic incident ended in Kota Baru yesterday.
One of them, still clutching the woman's handbag, was caught about 200m away. The other escaped.
Villager Amran Mustafa, 40, said the impact of the crash and collapsing roof sounded like a bomb blast; it shocked the townsfolk who were enjoying their weekend break, which begins on Friday in Kelantan.
Kota Baru OCPD ACP Ahmad Lutfi Khalid said police were hunting down the second suspect.
He said the man who was caught had been injured by the accident.
So, she's gutsy because she chased the thieves.
While her son was in the car.
Which she crashed.
Because she lost control of her vehicle.
When she rammed into the thieves' car.
So, she recovered her "money and valuables worth RM1K"
But badly damaged her car (a Proton Perdana, worth maybe RM90K new, RM55K used?)
Caused the roof to cave in on a gym equipment store (RM50K in damage?)
And her ramming into the thieves' car caused them to get wrapped around a lamp post, but not before they an innocent motorist who then rammed HIS car into a hawker stall (thankfully it was empty!).
... I'm sorry, but while I can understand the horror and anger at being the victim of a snatch theft, I don't think what the victim did was wise...
... in the big picture, instead of having a loss of "money and valuables worth RM1,000", there has been a loss of over RM100K ...
... on top of that, she's lucky she's not grieving for a dead son, or her husband for a dead wife... it's a miracle no-one got killed in this entire incident.
Now, I'm VERY curious to see if anything else gets reported about this... after all, SOMEONE's going to have to pay for the damage incurred on the innocents (the Proton Iswara owner; the hawker stall owner; the gymnasium equipment store owner; the lamppost...)...
I'd like to think that the thief who got caught has squealed and identified the pertner who got away, and that he is also now in custody.
I think the thieves are ultimately responsible, and should be charged accordingly. Of course, the fact that they were "making their living" snatching handbags implies no such luck for the Proton Iswara driver, hawker stall owner, gymnasium equipment store owner and even the Kota Baru Municipal Council (for the lamppost) to get a single sen in compensation.
I would also like to see "gutsy mom" get a serious reprimand, & get fined for various driving offenses, reckless endangerment, whatever... because no matter what, what she did was extremely reckless and endangered the lives of so many people, I don't care how pressing and urgent the situation was, she can't think that's "it's okay" to do what she did...
I'm still amazed no one got killed.
And I still can't decide whether this falls under the category of the end justifying the means, or just plain myopia.